The Agidibo which the English name is Slit Drum, is an idiophone drum, made from a hollowed piece of wood in which a narrow groove serves as a sound opening. The Agidibo is struck with a stick along both sides of the narrow groove, which produces two different pitches. The possibility of combining rhythm with pitch enables the Agidibo to act as a means of communication for Ebira People during festivals like New Yam Festival or during the initiation of New Otaarus.
The three most common types are the cylindrical, the trapezoid and the zoomorphic. Besides these we also find them in the form of a tulip, half-moon and boat.
The basic structure of the drum is virtually the same for each type and is best illustrated by the cylindrical Agidibo. A block of wood, usually part of a tree trunk, is cut into the desired shape and then hollowed out through the slit in the upper side. The drum-maker/woodcutter ensures that the two sides of the drum are unequal in thickness so that different pitches are produced when played with two drum sticks. The two-tone structure will later form the basis for the transmission of a message, the purpose for which these instruments are best known.
Origin Of Agidibo in Ebiraland.
Before we talk about the uses of it, there is a need to know how our ancestors come about the instrument, according to research the first person to use the Agidibo in Ebiraland is Adayi Etazi (Adayi Ebira), he was the first person to play the Agidibo.
The Uses of Agidibo.
These days Agidibo is widely used, almost in every events in the land ranging from Unehe to Modern yearly Ebira Carnival. But back in the early ages it has specific uses, the use is limited to some certain set of people (The Ohi’s, Herbalists and Otaaru’s).
The main function of Agidibo is to dispense messages to the people, even though Agidibo is a musical instrument it’s a sacred one (according to research).
Also used for announcing the death of great people like Kings, Herbalists, Great Hunters and Important people in the society.
And its messages are often in parables that only the wise can understand.
Also Read: 17 Greetings in Ebira Language and Meaning
It’s also used for announcing certain festivals like New Yam Festivals and Eche Ori festival, whenever Agidibo is been beaten, those that understand the sounds knows exactly the messages been passed.
Agidibo has the same function with the African talking drum (Ugogoyin), the little different is that you can dance to Ugogoyin but reverse is the case for Agidibo.
A very good example of the uses is during Ekuechi festival, Eku Ahete follows the sound of Agidibo before living the IREBA (The Masquerades Resident).
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